MHR, it's been a little while. I feel like I've been away from one of my lifelines a little too long. With everything that has been going on in the world of sports I've been doing my best to keep my cool about what is happening in the NFL. At times it feels a little overwhelming and I'd rather be remembered as slow to speak and quick to listen as opposed to quick to speak and lashing out in anger. I'm having trouble right now with the NFL. I need your help.
I don't and most likely won't ever make millions of dollars. I won't ever be a celebrity. I won't ever get on the VIP list at elite Vegas clubs. I won't ever own an NFL team (although, I have been looking into the LFL. There's got to be some kind of money in the LFL league). I will never understand the lifestyle of an NFL player, owner, lawyer, or Union Executive. They live in a different world than me.
I'm not ever going to understand exactly what it is like to bicker over hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars. I'm the blue collar worker. I'm the guy that would rather sit on his "tailgate by the lake with his highschool flame in one arm and an ice cold beer in the other". I'm the guy that dreams of being a successful father before being a rich athlete, yet I am more than willing to spend my hard earned money to support and watch my team.
I'm the guy that goes to Mile High Stadium and usually sits in the upper deck and brags about how close to the 50 yard line my tickets were, even if I'm always trying to avoid Sputnick flying overhead. I save up for a few weeks to buy those tickets and when I go to games I indulge in beer, food, and merchandise. I'm an A-typical fan who forgets his sunscreen, gets sunburned, and goes to work on Monday looking like Ted from Scrubs and relives his experience with all his jealous co-workers. This is the NFL I've grown up with. From August to February I've lived the NFL. This is the NFL I've fallen in love with.
The NFL right now is foreign to me. I don't get it. I won't get it. Scientists say that it is impossible for the human brain to comprehend even 1 million anything. How can I possibly understand 10 million? How can I possibly understand 1 billion? When I sell my old skis for 100 bucks I feel like I've won the proverbial lottery. Hell, when I can give away a piece of trash out of my garage to a thankful dude on Craigslist I feel pretty damn good about myself. I feel damn American. I don't understand the world that wealthy people live in. I don't understand their problems and to be quite honest they probably don't understand mine... and that's okay. I am totally fine with that if it means they provide me an entertainment I can count on every weekend. Maybe they live in the millions and I live in the thousands... but at least I can understand the thousands.
When the NFL comes on the TV, and when they come on the radio, and when they write letters addressed to fans like me I can't help but feel a little betrayed. What the hell else do they want from us fans? What more can we do? We've given them our allegiance. We've given them our money. We've missed church for them on Sunday's. Now we are supposed to pick sides? I'm afraid I've already spent a couple of the rooms in my heavenly mansion watching Kyle Orton blow fourth quarter leads faster than Charlie Sheen blows through an 8-ball on Sunday mornings.
Hell no. I won't be played the fool. I am an economist. I understand market value and getting paid at your worth but at the same time don't expect me for one second to feel sorry for you losing one or two or ten million dollars here or there because you can't agree on what is "fair". I'd much prefer to simply move on. I'd much prefer to spend my afternoon watching baseball and NBA playoffs than follow the trainwreck that is going to be the NFL public court trial. I've decided that if I had one thing to say to the NFL and NFLPA it would be:
"Figure your money problems out amongst yourselves, just don't you dare take away what I've come to love so much. Don't you dare."
You won't ever see me write a letter to the owners or the NFLPA. There is no point to that. We don't speak the same language. We don't experience the same football.
What you will see me do though is reach out to other football fans around this community and the NFL community around the country. We are the forgotten third party that's being thrown a bone here and there to keep us happy for a couple of weeks at a time. Stop biting. They aren't the hand that feeds. We are the hand that feeds. As an aggregate we are the powerhouses of the NFL. Never forget that. Your blue-collar dollar funds the vast salaries of both the owners and the players. For the time being, the NFL and players have forgotten about that. They are too busy figuring out how to evenly split up our hard earned money.
My call out is to fans. Forget about this CBA business. It's nothing but misery business for us. In the end it will all get solved and if the players get cheated or if the owners get cheated are we really going to give a sh*t at 6:30AM Mon-Fri while we putting on our uniform or scrubs or Carhartt gear trying to earn an honest living?
Either side "winning" is about as exciting to me as a root canal, Scarlett Johansson's next single, or Snooki's next boytoy. I hope that the NFL and the players do themselves a huge favor and figure out some way to figure this problem out behind closed doors so that I can continue to live in my Cinderella story that believes that the people who play this game play it because they love it. That I can continue to believe that the NFL owners understand that what they are providing for their cities is more than just business. It's an identity. Denver is the Broncos and the Broncos are Denver. One without the other is like mac without the cheese. Eff that bro.
I'm not pissed that the NFL and its players are disputing over money. That's their problem and it will continue to be a problem for as long the NFL exists. That's simply the truth of an evolving and growing economic world that is the American consumer. I'm in a constant dispute with my bosses over money and every six months I get the opportunity to express to them that I am both underpaid and overworked. They give me a raise and it shuts me up for another six months before the cycle resumes again. Cycle of life. I get that.
What I am pissed about is that the NFL and the NFLPA are asking the fans to choose sides. This isn't Team NFL vs. Team NFLPA. We aren't talking Edward v. Jacob here. We are team NFL fans (and by the way our team name sucks).
What I'm not hearing are communities like ours standing up saying we aren't going to be pushed around and told what and where to spend our money. This is our chance ladies and gentlemen. It won't happen again for another five years or decade. This is our opportunity to stand up together and send a strong, pro-football message to our players, and to our ownership... to our team.
It's time to say we don't care about your money issues. It's time we say we don't care about your hurt feelings. It's time we say we are tired of your public bickering and lame-ass potshots at each other. It's time we say we are sick of being the third wheel in this relationship.
The MSM won't stand up for us. They have to keep their relationships up with both sides to get a story. No, this needs to be on us and like everything it has to start small. It has to start in our minds. It begins with the way we think about the sport and it's players. It needs to start right here.
The NFL and its players are fighting for money right now. What are we fighting for? What are we asking for?
MHR I have a suggestion. Maybe it's crazy and maybe it's impossible, but I think it's worth a shot. We need to ask for something from our team. We've suffered enough change. It's time to lay our demands out on the table.
MHR, It's time for us to lead the charge to bring back the Mile High Salute. Let's start the change.
Is it small? Absolutely. Does it mean the world to fans? You better believe it. If we have to live through this off-season of bickering and dispute we should demand something back.
Let's flood this team with opinion. We already got the Orange Jersey's back. Let's get the DP to run an article bringing back the Mile High Salute.
Let's flood Tim Tebow's twitter account with so many @ requests he has to reply one way or the other.
Let's flood Woody Paige with so many @ requests he dedicates one of his lame Around The Horn Chalkboards to it.
Let's flood every single Bronco we can think of with requests to bring back a symbol of old success during big change.
Let's be the community of change we can be. Let's be NFL fans.